A CANINE companion for Dudley’s stop smoking team is taking the lead to help people kick the habit.

Sniffy the sniffer dog has been out and about across the borough to boost Dudley Stop Smoking Service workers’ efforts to encourage smokers to make a New Year’s resolution to quit.

During a series of roadshows Sniffy helped spread the word about assistance for smokers trying to give up, including include one-to-one support in GP practices, pharmacies and workplaces, as well as group support and drop-in clinics in community venues across the borough.

The service also offers intensive one-to-one support for pregnant women, their partners and family, as well as drop-in sessions at schools and colleges.

Ruth Olding, Dudley tobacco control programme manager, said: “Quitting isn't always a walk in the park but research shows that with ongoing support smokers can go smokefree and that's what the Dudley Stop Smoking Service offers.

“We introduced Sniffy as a fun way to take our message onto the streets of the borough. Our first trial days were a great success and we managed to sign up lots of people that have made a New Year's Resolution and want to stick to it.”

Research shows every 15 cigarettes creates a mutation in the body which has a high risk of developing into cancer and the campaign against smoking has the support of the borough’s councillor for health.

Councillor Stuart Turner, Dudley cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “The Dudley Stop Smoking Service gives smokers all the support they need when they’re ready to quit. It’s staffed with experts who help smokers understand why they smoke and create a plan to help them go smokefree.

“In fact, one in two people who quit with the Dudley Stop Smoking Service aren’t smoking four weeks later.”

The Dudley Stop Smoking Service is available on 0800 0850 652, text CAN to 80800 or by visiting www.dudleystopsmoking.co.uk